Can Arsenal's British core emulate United's Class of '92?

Aaron Ramsey & Kieran Gibbs

Arsene Wenger made a comparison to the British greats that graduated to Manchester United's senior squad in and around 1992.

The second generation of Fergie's Fledglings, a play on the term Busby Babes, emerged in the early 1990s and the most successful included, in the words of a recently-published documentary trailer, 'six working class boys': David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville and Gary Neville.

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Many of this second wage of home grown talent under Sir Alex Ferguson's 26-year tenure at Old Trafford became fundamental to the club's success at the time. David Beckham went on to captain England for six years, Gary Neville skippered United following the departure of Roy Keane in 2005 and Ryan Giggs continues to break his own record as the United player with the most appearances (currently 950).

In their combined trophy cabinets, one would find 49 Premier League winners medals, 18 FA Cup titles, nine Champions League wins and eight League Cups. It is quite a haul but, regardless, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who takes his Arsenal troops to Old Trafford to take on a Fledgling-less United this afternoon, has admitted that ensuring his British core sign contract extensions last year was down to his belief that they could emulate Ferguson's Class of 92.

'Yes, [that was in my mind] of course,' he admitted to the club's official website.

That core consists of full backs Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs, academy product Jack Wilshere (who has been on the Gunners books since he was a 9-year-old), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Welshman Aaron Ramsey, who is enjoying the season of his life. Theo Walcott, too, is also amongst that Brit-pack, making a sextuplet identical in national background to United's Class of 92.

'I believe the sense of belonging is important and it has been neglected a bit in the modern game,' continued Wenger. 'It is important for the players to feel part of the club, part of the culture of the club and that the club means something to you. That is important to the fans as well.

'I would [hope] that this group can become as successful as Manchester United’s players were but we have to show that and we have an opportunity to do it. Nobody can stop you if you have quality and [the right] attitude.'

Can Arsenal's Brits be anywhere near as successful as Giggs and co were? Let us know in the comment section below…

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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